Title: Horror Business
Publication date: February 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Ryan Craig Bradford
Armed with a passion for classic B-grade horror movies, a script co-written by his twin brother, and a wicked crush on his death-obsessed neighbor; hardcore horror fan Jason Nightshade must finish his student film.
But his plans are derailed when the children of suburban Silver Creek start disappearing – his twin brother among them. Battling a possessed video camera, a crazy zombie dog, a monstrous bully, and a frighteningly broken down family life, Jason embarks on a mission to find his lost brother so the two can write an ending for his story.
As any horror fan knows, saving the day won’t be easy, as Jason finds himself forced to face the real world where death isn’t just a splash of fake blood on a camera lens.
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What B-grade movie gave you the inspiration for this book?
It's impossible to track the origins of Horror Business to one single B-grade horror flick. I think, as any fan of the genre can tell you, that the inspiration is cumulative—the result of spending countless weekends in high school and college, watching slashings and gore amidst darkened basements. When you spend that much time watching horror, you end up watching a lot of terrible stuff, but you begin to recognize ambition and creative maneuvers that you don't really see in big budget movies. I think that independent spirit and the persistence to create your art without the luxury of time or budget has influenced me more in my own art than any sort of formal education.
So, while there is no single movie that inspired the plot of Horror Business, there is one movie whose spirit inspired me than most others: The Evil Dead. This movie has become so ubiquitous in the realms of horror fans that it's become somewhat of a cliché, but I think if you've been a horror fan at any time, it's impossible not to mention it.
Before I became a writer, I wanted to be a filmmaker. At my high school, we had a pretty robust video-production program. When we weren't watching movies, my friends and I would spend our free time making short films that would play during our morning announcements. We started our school's first A/V Club, which, in its first year, became the second-most attended extra-curricular club (after Drama Club… ugh). I drew upon these experiences when creating Jason, the main character in Horror Business. He's probably the most autobiographical character I've written.
Not only is The Evil Dead a great standalone horror movie, but it inspired us with its can-do attitude and a renegade spirit that—at one point—literally drips off the screen. My friends and I became obsessed with Evil Dead director Sam Raimi (who gets a significant shout-out in Horror Business), actor Bruce Campbell and producer Robert Tapert—all of whom were not much older than us when they made the movie. We saw ourselves in them, felt a kinship. We listened to every commentary track for every edition of the movie that came out. We read Bruce Campbell's If Chins Could Kill, which spends a large amount of time talking about the production of The Evil Dead.
I still think that a lot of people are dissuaded from creating art because there are too many gatekeepers: where will I get the money? The equipment? How do I get an agent? Who will publish me? These three filmmakers, on the other hand, set out to make a movie just to see if they could, and ended up making something meaningful to countless people around the world, and that attitude was very attractive to me, and one that I've tried to uphold in my own career.
Obviously, my career as a filmmaker didn't pan out, but creative writing is pretty much the same—it just requires a lot less people. I think composition, storytelling, editing and everything I learned from making movies carried over to my writing, as well as those renegade attitudes that were so influential. So when I wrote Horror Business—basically as an experiment to see if I could write a novel—I still felt inspired by the spirit of The Evil Dead filmmakers.
About the Author
Ryan grew up in Park City, Utah. His fiction has appeared in Quarterly West, Paper Darts, Vice, Monkeybicycle and [PANK]. He currently lives in San Diego where he acts as Creative Director for the nonprofit literary arts organization So Say We All. He’s the co-editor of the anthology Last Night on Earth and founder of the literary horror journal, Black Candies.